Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Banner by JaneeLookerse on Etsy
Happy New Year my lovelies! I'm not going to do a review of 2012 because it has, to be blunt, been a bit of an arse year! Still, it has brought some good things my way and has definitely helped me to focus on the things that are important to me, so hurrah for that!

I'll be back with my resolutions tomorrow, and I'm spending some quiet time thinking about my little space in the blogverse and what I want to do with it (something creative I hope!).

So for now, I hope that the end of 2012 treats you nicely and that 2013 brings happiness and adventure (or calm if its more appropriate!) your way.

Kat xxx

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

Card by thewheatfield on Etsy

Wishing all the lovely people in the blog-verse a very Happy Christmas, wherever you are and whatever your beliefs I hope it's a time that brings lots of peace and happiness your way.

I feel like I ned to apologise for the echoing silence on my blog in recent months. After the events of 2012 I've taken a massive step back to re-evaluate some things and plan to get back to blogging and creative pursuits very soon, can't wait!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Taking the writing plunge

It's no secret that I love writing, but spend most of my time battling colossal insecurities when it comes to my writing ability, which stop me from really getting anywhere.

As part of my new 'seize the day' approach to life (how very Dead Poets Society of me) I've signed myself up to take part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) - the goal of which is to write a 50,000 word novel by the end of the month.

I'm really excited about it - the whole idea seems like a really fun way of getting motivated and sharing the experience with lots of other people.

If anyone that reads my blog is taking part then let me know how you get on...and I'd love to read your novels as they develop :)

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Sunday Best...Feeling the Magic

Wow time flies, huh? Since my operation I've become spectacularly bad at multi-tasking. I'm hoping that full brain function will return soon, and until that time I'm busy making 'to do' lists like there's no tomorrow!

During my period of absence one of my most loved TV Shows has returned to my screen...BBC's 'Merlin'.

I'm a huge fantasy geek...give me men in armour fighting with swords, and a few dragons thrown in for good measure and I'm one happy girl. I'm already absolutely loving the new season, and that led to the creation of a new Merlin themed pinboard (I'm at a dangerous risk of creating a board for every thing I love...that's a lot of boards!), and here are a few of my favourite items...

This Merlin inspired ring is so pretty, I love the blue of the stone

Source: via Kat on Pinterest

How cute is this little Merlin Chibi? I've just discovered the Etsy Store CuteChibisandMore and suddenly find myself needing tiny versions of Sherlock, Doctor Who and Hawkeye.
Source: via Kat on Pinterest

I love the style of this etched brass shield ring, I need more brass in my jewellery stash
Source: via Kat on Pinterest

I had the pleasure of seeing these cute mice up close at a Craft Fair recently, they make all kinds of adorable characters but little Merlin and Arthur are extra cute.
Source: via Kat on Pinterest

Another ring (yep, I'm in the mood for buying rings). Love the Camelot etching around this ring, so unique.

Source: via Kat on Pinterest

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Crafty Creatives - September Craft Box Review

I've officially been hit by the 'monthly box subscriptions' bug. My favourite of all the boxes so far (and the only one I'm still subscribing to) is the monthly craft box from Crafty Creatives

My third box from them arrived this morning and it's another gorgeous box of crafty supplies and projects. Each box has a theme, and for September it's a Far East, or 'Oriental' theme. 

I'm so in love with the contents that I thought I'd share - prepare for some pic spam!

As this is my first post about this box I'll start at the beginning. It arrives in a neat little brown box:

And the items are always wrapped in some really pretty paper (which is being re-used as wrapping paper!):

The first item you hit is the art card, which has a gorgeous print on the front and information about the box on the reverse. This art card features Koi fish painted by Italian artist Davide:

Then you get to the goodies...

So far I'm always really impressed by the amount of crafty items that are in each box - definitely enough for several projects! This month's box includes:

  • 3 Chinese Coins - I already have a few of these scattered around the house as symbols of luck but I can see a jewellery project in the future for these!
  • Chinese symbol sheet and some black ink - time to get practising at my Chinese character brushwork!
  • Sheet of peel-off stickers
  • Wooden kokeshi doll - I'm especially looking forward to trying to decorate this
  • 3 sheets of origami paper
  • 1 fat quarter of Chinese brocade fabric
  • 3 pages from a Chinese new year fortune book
  • 4 metres of red cord
  • Fortune cookie (not crafty but tasty!)
My favourite item is this cinnabar bead, which I predict will be a necklace by the end of the day:

The last item in the box is a craft kit which includes everything you need to learn the art of Asian book binding through making a cute little notepad:

I love, love, love getting this box each month - it never fails to bring a smile to my face. To find out more about the box and subscriptions you can check out their website Crafty Creatives

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Stitch and Tell - Simple Embroidered Hankies

Christmas things are starting to appear in the shops already (noooo!), which must mean I don't have that long to make Christmas presents.

Anyone else ever spent Christmas Eve frantically sewing with awesomely cheesy Christmas tunes playing in the background?

Anyway, here's a little project that was really quick to sew that might help with last minute Christmas crafty panic!

These embroidered hankies only took about three hours to stitch in total. The bird pattern and the initial came from a pattern book by Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching. I love Jenny's patterns, they're incredibly easy to iron onto fabric and make the whole process a joy. I chose different shades of blue to stitch them in and really love how they turned out.

If it wasn't for the fact that the idea of using fabric hankies kinda grosses me out these days (although I still have a little stash of my childhood hankies stored safely in a drawer), I'd be very tempted to stitch some with my initial too!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Stop, Nail Time!

Ugh, I'm actually making myself cringe with the title of this post, but sor some reason can't resist using it. My brain went something along the lines of ....hmm, a title for a nail varnish post, what links to nails
....well you use a hammer on nails
....hammer time (and now that song will undoubtedly reside in my head for the next 24 hours)

 and you get the rest!

Anyway, lame post titles aside I've started playing around with nail art a lot more recently. Most of my attempts are a little bit failed (I swear it's harder than it looks), but this week a little parcel of potential nail based fun arrived. I bought a selection of 50 fimo cane rods for a very reasonable price from

If you haven't seen these rods before, they are little tiny sticks of fimo, approx 5cm in length which you can finely slice with a sharpe blade to make teeny tiny little shapes to stick on your nails. I've seen these used before and haven't always been too fond of the effects - I like quite simple nails, so the trend to sticks lots and lots of fimo shapes on one nail, although pretty, is just not me.

The result of my first play with these canes was this:

I'm actually really happy with how they turned out, and it was a lot of fun to do - like a mini craft project on my nails! Read on if you would like to have a go at these nails yourself...

What I'm listening to

I love the feeling when I discover some new music that sends a tingle down my spine. Of Monsters and Men certainly had that effect, and then some.

Their album 'My Head is and Animal' was recently released (and happily a signed edition arrived on my doormat on the day of release), and it's such a joy to listen to.

My favourite track is 'Little Talks'. You can see the video for it below, and I think it might win an award for being one of the most magical videos of all time, it's a thing of beauty!

On another musical note - not long now until Mumford & Sons new album 'Babel' is released. Excited much?! Here's their new video for 'I Will Wait'...cue the tingles...

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Stitch and Tell - Felt Tree Mobile Case

It was my Dad's birthday a little while ago, and his only request was a case for his new mobile phone. I've knitted him gadget cases in the past, but decided that it was time for a felt project (I think felt might be my absolute favourite crafty medium at the moment).

I knew I wanted it to have a nature theme, and this is what I came up with:

I unfortunately didn't make a pattern but the steps involved were:

  • Take the measurements of the phone, and cut one piece of felt to the height of the phone, adding 4cm width to allow for the depth of the phone 
  • Cut another piece of felt, again adding 4cm to the width, and this time adding half of the height again to make the flap
  • Cut the tree shape out of a piece of green felt, using the final size of the 'flap' (suddenly that word seems very wrong) as a guide
  • Attach the green felt tree shape to the longer piece of brown felt using fabric glue, making sure it sligtly overlaps the top edge
  • Embroider the tree trunk onto the smaller piece of brown felt
  • Stitch the two pieces of brown felt together along three edges to form a pouch

  • I tried a few different closure methods - a popper proved too difficult to open. I could imagine my dad missing every call while he desperatley tried to get his phone out of the case! In the end velcro strips proved to be the easiest closure method (although not as attractive sadly!)

  • I then cut out and embroidered a little bird, which was attached using fabric glue

  • The final step was to attach a button by sewing through both levels of felt
Dad loved it and it hasn't fallen apart after a couple of months worth of use (bonus!). If you have a go at making your own tree cover I'd love to see pictures! 

Life PGR!

Photo by The Gingham Owl on Etsy

My life is now officially split into two time periods - pre and post gallbladder removal. I had my operation to remove the pesky little organ that has been making me feel so ill on the 31st August and am healing well. I'm not going to go into any details hear (so do not fear!) but think I might try and find an appropriate place to talk about it online. My experience has, on the whole, been a positive one and I hope that by sharing this I might be able to counter-balance some of the horror stories that are floating around the web which left me with a sense of impending doom.

Life post gallbladder removal (PGR) is actually already looking very different in a good kind of way. Some of the changes are:

1. I've completely changed my diet. My diet now involves hardly any processed foods - all good, healthy ingredients and fresh food. It's still very low fat, although I'm starting to slowly introduce some health fats in the form of avocado and coconut oil (yum!). I've started to experiment with food a lot more, and am getting to grips with cooking with tofu. I'm definitely planning on sharing some of my experiments here, as well as some of the blogs that have inspired my new diet.

2. Life has gained a little bit of perspective. Maybe it's from spending some time in hospital and seeing what people are going through every day, or maybe it's because I had to put the brakes on for a little while. Either way I feel much calmer about the things in life that used to stress me out. A giant chill pill has definitely been swallowed.

3. I've officially got my crafty mojo back. I'm so happy that I'm starting to feel creative again. Now I have approximately 1001 crafty projects to catch up with

4. I'm all kinds of obsessed with make-up and nail varnish. Playing around with nail varnish and trying out new make up has been a really lovely distraction from everything that has been going on for the past couple of months. I have a feeling that it's an obsession which isn't going away any time soon!

In general, life PGR is a happier place to be and I'm looking forward to the new adventures around the corner.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Make-up case makeover

Today I wanted to introduce an old friend. It might not look like much but it's been with me through thick and thin...

This is actually my most beloved make-up case. As a make-up obsessed teenager I desperately wanted a professional aluminium make-up case for my birthday. Although my mum and dad couldn't get me one at the time (they were pretty pricey!) they used their combined genius to put together this bad boy for me - a tool chest, with a big mirror glued into the lid, and some homemade compartment dividers.

It travelled with me to University, my first home and through total of 7 house moves. The reason for me sharing is that I have a confession to make, for in recent years I've totally neglected my old friend, and this is what its insides became...

Aka total and utter chaos (and don't get me started on how old some of that make up is, there are students at the College where I work who are younger than some of those items). I decided it was time for a ruthless purge of all old make up, and a thorough clean of the case, which I re-lined with some pretty papers...

And then re-organised my remaining make-up stash, including some new purchases from E.L.F (more on those to come in another post). This was the end result...

From left to right I now have separate sections for my face products, eye products, lip products and then random beauty 'gadgets'. I'm hoping this will make getting ready in the morning a bit easier (and less of a make-up based lucky dip), and also stop me forgetting about the different make-up I own.

I've really enjoyed this little project (I can call turning out my own mess a project, right?), it's certainly encouraged me to try some new make-up, and it feels really good to have thrown away some of the older items. I'm trying to stick with a 1-year rule from now on to make sure everything is a bit fresher.

I hope it inspires turning out of make-up stashes, and I can highly recommend the organisational abilities of a metal tool case (just carry it flat, if you pick it up by the handle chaos ensues as nothing is held in place, which I discovered to my peril).

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Guess who's back...back again...

Keep Calm Poster by KeepCalmShop on Etsy

Well it's certainly been a challenging few weeks recently health-wise. I'm still having some tests to find out what is going on with my health (and in particular, my liver), but trying to stay positive that it's something that can be resolved. 

I had my first experience of an MRI scan this morning - not exactly a pleasant experience, but I think the breathing and meditation techniques I learnt at yoga helped a lot.

The whole experience is making me take a close look at my lifestyle. My diet has never been hugely unhealthy, but definitely room for improvement, so I'm definitely looking at permanent changes in what (and how) I eat.

Anyway, enough of that - back to my blog - I felt a really fierce desire to start writing again yesterday, and this blog is a really good way of doing that, so I'm planning to get back to posting.

I think I'm going to make a couple of changes - especially loosing the idea of having certain 'themed' posts on certain days of the week - I'm going to try an 'anything goes' approach for a while and see what happens.

On a totally unrelated note, I've just discovered that my pinterest has been hacked, with someone creating some really random boards on my account - which is slightly worrying! The boards had creative names such as 'my work is da bomb'. Excellent. Is this what happens when I step away from the internet for a little while? Sheesh!

Good job I'm back ;-)

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Just popping in to say hi...

Phew...the past few weeks have been a challenge. It turns out that what I thought was just a run of bad luck with stomach bugs was actually gall stones and an infected gall bladder...all I can say is ouch.

I spent last week between my GP surgery and the hospital and am now waiting for an MRI scan and a Gastroscopy.

I won't go into much more detail here as I'm pretty sure no-one needs the gory details, but suffice to say I'm now on a completely fat free diet (Doctor's orders), and contemplating becoming a vegan for the long-term, so there may be some fat free/ low-fat recipes heading this way from now on.

I'm not sure when I'll be back to blogging properly, but today was the first day I've felt like doing a bit of crafting, so yay! I'm struggling a bit with my motivation and creativity at the moment, but I'm hoping normal services will resume soon.

I'm still enjoying reading other people's blogs, so hurrah for the blog-verse :)

Be back soon

Monday, 7 May 2012

Motif Monday

I haven't had a chance to stitch today's motif yet (boo!), but it's a nice simple one, inspired by the look of disapproval meme - memes are stitching gold, more of these to come hopefully!

Here's the chart - I'll upload it as a Google doc as well, as soon as possible. I'm looking forward to stitching it (probably at the weekend). I'd quite like to hang it by my desk at work as I have a feeling I make this face several times a day!

As always - if you use this for a project let me know - I'd love to see the chart in use!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Sunday Best - May the Force Be With You

So the big Star Wars geek side of my personality is totally gutted that I missed posting on May 4th. Missed opportunity or what?

I don't talk about my Star Wars obsession too often - but yes, I'm a massive fan of both the original trilogy and (controversially) the prequels. The world of Star Wars fandom has brought a lot of happiness my way, not least because it was how I met my lovely beau.

So in belated honour of May's my Sunday Best.

How cute? If I had any crochet skills whatsoever I would be all over this pattern by lucyravenscar on Etsy.

The Bantha was always one of my favourite creatures from the Star Wars universe - so big and fluffy. This plushie by ebinard on Etsy does them justice - love the button eyes.

There are no words to express my love for Sweethoots on Etsy.

I always felt that the Wampa was the most misunderstood creature - well, him and the Rancor - I'm pretty sure they were just lonely and confused, so this hoop kind of melts me.

Admiral Ackbar is one of my all time favourite Star Wars characters (I mean..he's probably in the top ten, and he's fought off some stiff competition), so I think I may have to treat myself to this pattern to make my hoopla wall complete.

Catching Up

Vintage Retro Clock
Photo from Cuba Gallery on Flickr

Oh wow...time really does fly when you're not having a huge amount of fun, huh? I can't believe how long it has been since my last post, and I've really missed being here!

Does anyone else go through periods of time where things just seem to build up until they're kind of looming over you? Not necessarily major things - but just lots and lots of little 'things' that have to be sorted out. I get like it every now and then, and have learnt that when it happens I just have to take a step back and prioritise things. I've been doing a lot of that recently. Sadly it sometimes means that the things I have to put on the back-burner are the things I really enjoy.

Anyway, I'm back, hurrah! Lots of blog-reading to be done and posts to write - can't wait!

Friday, 13 April 2012

TFI Friday

Is it seriously Friday again? Really? I can tell I've been on holiday this week because I'm a) feeling super relaxed and b) in complete disbelief that the week has finished already!

I've had an absolutely gorgeous week, and spent most of it staying with my dad and his girlfriend in sunny Cornwall (the sun was actually shining almost the entire time...woo!).

Some of my favourite parts of the week have been...

Going to the beautiful Glendurgan Gardens in Cornwall. They were so stunning, and it was such a relaxing place to be. See the maze in the distance in this photo?

I totally conquered it. It may be meant for children but as someone with literally no sense of direction I take pride in my achievement. At the end of the gardens was this little beach...where we skimmed stones and ate ice cream...bliss

Other pieces of happiness this week have been...

Watching the Woody Allen film Midnight in Paris. I literally fell in love with this film. Beautiful. As soon as I'd finished watching it, I wanted to watch it again. Oh, and then go to Paris for a long weekend.

I got my sticky mits on the complete 'Ice Cream Sundae' nail polish collection from Models Own. Lovely summer colours, can't wait to try them out. Would it be bad if I painted each finger a different colour just so I could try them all out at once?

Oooh...and I've finally finished the stitching project I've been working on for about 10 years (ok, I exaggerate ... 8 months), but more on that tomorrow.

How was your week? Hope it brought good things your on to the weekend!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Vintage Finds - Piggy Bank

I thought I'd occasionally share any vintage buys I make. If I'm honest I don't make them that often - not because I'm not always looking (I am!) but because the second-hand/ charity shops near where I live seem to be completely clued-up on how fashionable thrifting is at the moment and some of their prices are totally crazy!

One of my favourite purchases is this little cutie, a vintage piggy bank (and it came complete with some vintage 1/2 pennies rattling around inside...cute!).

And the pretty back view...

It was love at first site...and I was so happy to have a real-life version of the tiny re-ment piggy bank which is my all-time favourite piece of re-ment ever!

Tiny sweetness!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The Toy Shelf - Miss Sally Rice

I've been playing around with different backing colours in my photo tent (because white is so, like, yesterday). Luckily my Blythe Miss Sally Rice stepped in to help me test them out, and here are the results...

With a red background...

With a blue background...

And with a pink background (which doesn't look a whole lot different to the red...due to my poor lighting maybe)

It was my first attempt at taking pics of any of my Blythes in the photo tent and I think my lighting might have been an epic fail - more practice needed I think! I'm kind of loving the last pic though...and I don't normally like her yellow eyes!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Motif Monday - Mr Distinguished

Have you been looking at your walls recently and thinking they just need to be a bit more...distinguished? Well never fear, today's free cross stitch design is here to add that extra class to your stitching.

You can download the chart via google docs using this link (or just print the pic below). It's a nice simple design, with only four split stitches for the eyes. The moustache part of the design can be used for other projects as well. I'm planning some moustache magnets using plastic canvas, as the moustache is just whole stitches.

The design was, of course, inspired by this little chap...

                                                                                Source: via Kat on Pinterest

Have fun stitching and I'd love to see your finished projects!